Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has urged Kenyans to be cautious of floods, saying some of those who died had dared to cross flooded rivers, unnecessarily risking their lives.
Mr Gachagua instead urged Kenyans to avoid flooded areas to avert more deaths as rain continues to pelt various parts of the country.
"Kenyans are crossing rivers when they can see that the waters are rough and they are insisting that they are in a hurry to go somewhere. How do you ask the government to intervene in the situation when you yourself get into a river and you can see the way it’s flowing? We want to appeal to Kenyans; take care of your lives. Even if you do not care about yourselves, there are people that do. Do not be adventurous,” warned Mr Gachagua.
He was speaking at the 17th Annual Kenya Institute of Planners Convention at Diani Reef, Kwale County.
El Nino-related flooding in Kenya has killed 76 people and displaced 34,155 households as the situation worsens in 38 of Kenya's 47 counties.
The worst affected regions are the North Eastern, Eastern and Coastal regions.
In his remarks, Mr Gachagua acknowledged that the current flooding crisis experienced in the country was a result of poor planning.
"Planning is key. All the things that have gone wrong in this country is as a result of poor planning but this government is anchored on correcting that through proper planning," he said.
This comes as he said the national government said it had set aside Sh7 billion to intervene in the disaster and an additional Sh10 billion to be sent to counties this week to help them provide aid to those affected.
Counties’ shareable revenue
The funds are part of counties’ shareable revenue, but the Cabinet, in a meeting on Monday, asked governors to appropriate them for disaster response.
Mr Gachagua further said the Kenya Defence Forces will support the airlifting of the materials to inaccessible areas.
"Governors should use their resources to make proper plans, including with money at their disposal," he said.
The Deputy President, however, admitted that climate change was among the biggest challenges at the moment in the planning sector, adding that the government would work towards including professional planners in county boards.
This, he said will equally address the challenge of collapsing buildings, especially in urban areas.
"We will make sure that planners sit on boards of organisations where planning is key," he said.
On her part, Kwale County Governor Fatuma Achani said the county was experiencing a shortage of planners that was affecting their operation and development.
"We can only succeed with the collaboration of planners and this should be done if the government adds more planners in the county government" she said.